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The story describes the joys and pains of the ordinary marriage of Ira and Maggie Moran as they travel from Baltimore to attend a funeral and back home again in one day. It also examines Maggie's attempts to reconcile her son and daughter-in-law. During the journey to the funeral, we learn how both Ira and Maggie have forgone their youthful dreams and feel they have settled for an "ordinary life." We experience how they exasperate each other—Maggie too talkative, too meddling; Ira too logical, uncommunicative, and too judgmental. A few detours during their 90-mile drive reveal Ira and Maggie's "incompatibilities, disappointments, unmet expectations—and lasting love"

 

 I read this  before BGO existed, and the following are the comments I wrote in my "Reading Diary" at the time - they are quite specific to that time,  just short of my fiftieth birthday, and to my own situation back then!
 

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A woman approaching 50, with two children. One, the one she felt closest to, is grown up and has left home, but she can’t stop interfering in his life. The younger has always been independent, and in conflict with her. She works in an Old People’s home. She was so determined not to turn in to her mother that she found she had turned into her father!.

I thought this was my autobiography - but I hope I am not that dippy! Quite Funny.


 

I had read The Accidental Tourist some considerable number of years previously, and just did not 'get' it at that time. I think Breathing Lessons was the first of AnneTyler's books I had read since then, and her portrayal of family life suddenly seemed really relevant. I have been a fan ever since.

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